People say that your mattress is one of the most important investments in your home, given that you spend a third of your life sleeping. But let’s be real: we’re all putting in some serious hours on the sofa, too. It’s not a purchase to be taken lightly, given that it’s the visual and functional focal point of the living room—so we’ve grilled interior designers from Western Canada about their best sofa-shopping wisdom to help guide you in your next furniture-hunt journey.

Here’s everything you need to know if you’re shopping for a sofa in 2022.

industrial chic living room designed by Oliver Simon with L shaped sofa
The team at Oliver Simon Design took their time picking the right L-shaped sofa for this living room. (Photo: Tracey Ayton.)

Take your time

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was your living room. “Don’t rush this kind of purchase, be willing to wait a while for the right piece,” advise Jamie Hamilton and Greer Nelson, lead designers at Vancouver’s Oliver Simon Design. And most importantly: “Measure first!”

a bright and airy vancouver townhouse living room with grey sofa
A sofa that has stood the test of time is the centrepiece of this Project 22-designed townhome. (Photo: Janis Nicolay.)

Go beyond aesthetics

You’re likely going to be using this sofa every single day: it better be a welcoming place to snuggle up with the new episode of Succession, ideally for years to come. “Comfort and quality” are the two most important factors to look for when sofa shopping, says Vancouver-based Project 22 principal Denise Ashmore.

a midcentury inspired renovation in calgary
A grey sofa is anything but bland in an Aly Velji-designed room full of texture. (Photo: Martin Tessler.)

Consider a neutral

Though Alykhan Velji, principal of Calgary’s Alykhan Velji Designs, is known for his bold, vibrant spaces (he’s fearless when it comes to colour), he recommends leaning neutral when it comes to an investment piece like a sofa. “I like to keep large pieces of furniture on the neutral side to ensure longevity, allowing me to change up pillows and decor seasonally,” says Velji.

a blue sofa in a grand room
Bigger is better… in some contexts, advises Paul Lavoie. (Photo: Eymeric Widling)

Select the right scale

One of the most common mistakes Calgary designer Paul Lavoie sees is people picking a sofa that’s “too deep and overwhelms a room.” Consider your scale and shop accordingly. “Deep sofas need to be in huge rooms,” says the designer.

Get tactile

Sometimes, you’ve gotta go the online route, we know… but if you get a chance to order a fabric swatch or visit a piece in a showroom before you commit, take it. “Test sit and make sure the fabric or leather is comfortable,” says Tanja Hinder, principal of Vancouver’s Marrimor Studio.

a white l-shaped sofa looks right at home in a calgary apartment
Scale is everything, as we see in this perfectly proportioned design from Rochelle Cote. (Photo: Kokemor Studio.)

Did we mention you should measure?

“Triple check the measurements for your space as well as the sofa to ensure that the sofa will fit with room to spare,” warns Rochelle Cote, principal of Calgary firm Rochelle Cote Interior Design.

hands touching a sofa
Get hands-on with your sofa shopping, recommends designer Karen Attwell. (Photo: Kristy-Anne Swart)

Check for quality construction

Don’t get distracted by selecting upholstery: what’s on the inside of your sofa is just as important. Your sofa frame should be able to stand the test of time, Karen Attwell, principal of Calgary’s Form Interiors reminds us. “Not only will a quality frame be more comfortable, it also gives you a piece you can reinvent over time. Look for a kiln-dried hardwood frame and hand-tied coils in the structure of the piece. Quality does cost, but only once.”